“They don’t know that! This is my only chance of a job in L.A., and I need to have a reference. Danny, if you can’t do it, just tell me and I’ll ask someone else.”
“Someone else?” Only Danny can manage to sound mortally offended when he’s in the wrong. “Why would you ask someone else?”
“Because they might actually do it!” I sigh, trying to stay patient. “Look, all you need to do is send a little email. I’ll dictate it, if you like. Dear Gayle, I can recommend Rebecca Brandon as a personal shopper. Signed, Danny Kovitz.” There’s silence down the phone, and I wonder if he’s taking notes. “Did you get that? Did you write it down?”
“No, I didn’t write it down.” Danny sounds indignant. “That is the crummiest reference I ever heard. You think that’s all I have to say about you?”
“I don’t give out personal references unless I mean them. Unless I’ve crafted them. A reference is an art form.”
“You want a reference, I’ll come and give you a reference.”
“What do you mean?” I say, confused.
“I’m not writing three crappy lines on an email. I’m coming to L.A.”
“You can’t come to L.A. just to give me a reference!” I start to giggle. “Where are you anyway? New York?”
Since Danny hit the big time, it’s impossible to know where he’ll be at any moment. He’s opened three new showrooms this year alone, including one in the Beverly Center here in L.A. Which you’d think would tie him down, but he’s always scouting out yet more new cities or going on “inspirational research trips” (holidays).
“San Francisco. I was coming anyway. I need to buy sunblock. I always get my sunblock in L.A. Text me the details. I’ll be there.”
“It’ll be great. You can help me choose a name for my husky dog. We each get to sponsor one, but I may sponsor a whole team. It’s going to be, like, such a life-changing experience.…”
Once Danny starts talking about life-changing experiences, it’s hard to cut him off. I’ll give him twenty minutes to talk about Greenland, I decide. Maybe twenty-five. And then I must go and buy my trainers.
OK, I officially have the coolest running shoes in the world. They’re silver with orange stripes and they have gel bits and mesh bits and I want to wear them all day long.
This sports shop is incredible! You don’t just buy a pair of trainers here. You don’t just put them on and walk around and say, I’ll take them, and then throw six pairs of sports socks into your basket as well because they’re on sale. Oh no. It’s all very technical. You do a special running test on a treadmill, and they take a video and tell you all about your “gait” and find the perfect solution for your athletic needs.
Why don’t they do this at Jimmy Choo? They should have a little catwalk where you’d walk along to cool music and maybe strobe lighting, and they’d take a video. And then the expert would say, We feel the black-and-white stiletto perfectly suits your awesome supermodel gait. And then you’d take the video home to show all your friends. I am so suggesting it next time I’m in there.
“So here’s the heart monitor I was telling you about.…” The sales assistant, Kai, reappears, holding a little metal and rubber bracelet. “Like I said, it’s our most discreet model, new to the market. I’m excited to hear your opinion.”
“Cool!” I beam at him and put it on my wrist.
Kai has asked if I’d like to join in a customer study of this new heart monitor, and why not? The only sticky moment was when he asked what heart monitor I was using currently and I didn’t like to say “none,” so I said “the Curve” and then realized that’s Luke’s new BlackBerry.
“Would you like some more coconut water before you start?”
More coconut water. That’s so L.A. Everything in this shop is so L.A. Kai himself is ripped and tanned and has exactly the optimum amount of stubble, and bright turquoise eyes, which I’m sure are lenses. He looks so like Jared Leto that I wonder whether he went to a surgeon with a picture torn out of Us Weekly and said, This one, please.
He’s already dropped into conversation that: 1. He’s modeled for Sports Illustrated. 2. He’s working on a script about a sportswear consultant who becomes a movie star. 3. He won Ohio’s Best Pecs three years running and has had his pecs specially insured. He asked me within about thirty seconds whether I worked in the film industry, and when I said no, but my husband did, he gave me a card and said, “I’d love to meet with him to discuss a venture he might be interested in.” The idea of Kai and Luke sitting at a table discussing his pecs nearly made me snort out my coconut water.
“So if you’ll kindly step up here.” Kai ushers me onto the treadmill. “I’ll be taking a record of your heart rate, so we’ll raise it with some aerobic activity and then lower it with rest periods. Just follow the treadmill and you’ll be fine.”
“Great!” As I step up, I notice a massive rack of exercise clothes being wheeled onto the shop floor by two sales assistants. Wow. They look amazing—all different shades of purples and grays, with abstract logos and really interesting shapes.
“What’s that?” I ask Kai as the treadmill starts to move gently along.
“Oh.” He looks at it without interest. “That’s from our clearance fashion floor.”